Time to Hire a Pro?

One of the most cost effective ways to dress up your home is to apply a fresh coat of paint to the interior or exterior. To guarantee a successful project with minimal impact to your lifestyle consider hiring a professional Paint Contractor. When it’s time to hire a pro consider the following.

Meet the Paint Contractor. The best time to do this is when an estimate is being done. Ask questions. Do you have any specific concerns? This is the perfect time to have those concerns addressed. Ask how long the project should take. Does the Paint Contractor do the work in-house or do they sub work out. Subbing work out is becoming more common and it is a problem. There is little to no quality control, you have no idea who will be working on your home and you have little control over the people showing up at your house. I suggest you stay away from any company that subs work out. It is full of pitfalls.

Insurance. Insurance is a big expense. It is however necessary. The contractor should have both liability and workers compensation insurance. If in doubt ask for a certificate of coverage. If the Paint Contractor does commercial work they will be very familiar with how to get an insurance certificate to you. All commercial jobs require that proof of insurance be provided. Another pitfall of having subcontractors on your project is that there is almost always no insurance coverage. If there is damage to your home or someone gets hurt it will cause a major problem.

Experience. Been there done that! There is no substitution for experience. Everyone has to learn but preferably not on your home! Hire a Paint contractor with a long tract record of success. The more experience the better for you.

When it is time to hire a pro, if you follow the guidelines above you will be well on your way to a successful home project.

Painting Over Wallpaper

Painting over wallpaper is something you can do successfully. We remove lots of wallpaper and occasionally put up new. Sometimes removing wallpaper is more trouble then it’s worth. In that situation we suggest painting over it.

To be able to paint over your wallpaper it must be tightly bound to your walls. If the wallpaper is tightly bound to the wall the the next step is to clean the paper. a damp cloth and a mild laundry detergent works well. I like Dawn dish soap. Be sure to rinse the walls using a clean damp cloth. It is important to not over saturate the walls with water or you may have a problem with how well the paper sticks to the wall.

The next step is to prep the walls for painting. Tape off the base, remove stitch plates, etc. You will want to use an oil base primer over the wallpaper. We do two coats. After priming you will want to look at the paper for any open seams, tears, on the wallpaper. These imperfections will need to be skim coated with drywall mud. After drying you will sand smooth and re-prime those areas.

Now you should be ready for the finish coat. If you notice any bubbles that rise up in the paper, they will need to be cut out, have mud applied and sanded, then primed. Sometimes you can get all the way to the finish coat before bubble form. Just cut them out and mud.

Two coats finish are best. Painting over wallpaper isn’t hard at all.

Modified Polymer Coatings

Modified polymer coatings are used when enhanced durability is needed. They offer abrasion and chemical resistance but also have an additional benefit. Most are less sensitive to colder environments. Once they are activated they will cure even in cold temperatures. Sometimes the time to dry is extended but they will cure out.

An extended dry time can pose a problem when there is the risk of someone coming into contact with the painted surface like what we just had painting doors and frames and some structural steel at a transit station for the City of Omaha. The areas were enclosed to protect the painted surfaces from blowing debris and so we could pump some heat into those areas.

The coating we used was difficult to work with. It was a two component modified polymer urethane. High performance coatings like this are often two component. The tinted base is mixed with an activator. You can also add some solvent to try to extend the dry time and make it easier to work with.

This urethane did not brush well. Between the cold temperatures and a difficult product to work with, this was not a fun job to do. We managed to prep the frames, doors and structural steel and get the first coat applied one day and return two days later for the second coat. The dry time was extended because of the cold.

The end result was good. The finish is very durable and will look great for years to come.

Brick Staining vs Paiting

Many times each year we are asked to paint or stain brick. Interior and exterior. Let’s discuss brick staining vs painting.


I like the look of brick but sometimes change is good. I must admit, I still cringe a bit when asked to paint or stain a customers brick. Whether you stain or paint your brick bear in mind either approach should be considered a permanent decision.

Whether painting or staining, much of the approach is the same. The first step is to determine if the brick has a sealer on it. The easiest way to do this is by putting some water on the surface and see if the water beads up. If so the brick likely has a sealer on it. This you will want to remove. Easiest way to do this is by using lacquer thinner. You will want to wear eye protection and chemically resistant gloves. We often use scratchy pads and the lacquer thinner. It is easiest to do it a brick at a time and then wipe with a clean rag.

If staining the brick, you will need to decide if you want a water based or solvent based stain. The water based is easier to work with. The solvent based often has a sealant as part of it.


If painting the brick, you will want to use a primer first. On exterior brick we power wash the surface prior to using the primer. I like some of the better water based primers like Gripper. We use this product often.

When staining you will want to apply a uniform coat from top to bottom. It is also a good idea to give the stain a stir from time to time because the stains tend to separate. When painting you will want to apply 2 coats after priming. It is a good idea to scrub the coating in by brush into the porous areas like the mortar.

Between the two systems, brick staining vs painting, painting will prove to be more durable. It is also easier to change the color by repainting if you like.

Anti-Graffiti Coatings

Anti-Graffiti Coatings

An Anti-Graffiti coatings are a coating that keeps graffiti from sticking to most surfaces.

Graffiti is a big problem in Omaha and across the United States. The cost to remove graffiti runs into the billions of dollars annually. The coatings are typically either a pigmented paint or a clear coat and are either a “sacrificial coating” or a “non-sacrificial coating”. Non-sacrificial coatings are sometimes referred to as a permanent coating.


Sacrificial coatings are coatings applied to a substrate that will be sacrificed or removed along with the graffiti that is upon it. Usually these coatings only require a high pressure washing to remove the coating and the graffiti. After removal of the graffiti and the sacrificial coating they must be reapplied to prevent future graffiti vandalism. Often these coatings are water based products that have weak bonds to the surface that allows for easy removal.


Non-sacrificial coatings are more expensive then sacrificial but they only need to be applied once. When these coatings have graffiti on them it usually just takes a cleaner or solvent to remove them.

We will be using a non-sacrificial coating on a bus depot for the Metro Area Transit in Omaha. It is a new and unpainted structure so we will be using a clear coating. These coatings require the standard exterior prep of power washing prior to application.

Anti-graffiti coatings have become an integral part of todays society.